Universal Infant Free School Meals
Every child in Early Years Foundation Stage (Reception), Year 1 and Year 2, who attend a state funded school are offered a free school lunch. This is known as 'Universal Infant Free School Meals'. The cost of the school meal is met by the government and children are welcome to stay and enjoy a nutritious hot meal with their friends.
This is a Government initiative which aims to ensure that all children can benefit from a hot meal at lunchtime. Studies show that benefits include;
- A healthy diet
- Improved concentration in the afternoons
- Better behaviour and atmosphere in school as a result of all pupils eating together every day
- A saving to parents of up to £400 a year for each child
If your child has a medical need for a special diet, please see the school office with the details of the diet along with a doctor’s letter. This is not necessary for vegetarian, vegan or halal meat options.
There is no charge for meals, however our school has a booking system and school meals are booked one month in advance using the School Meals Booking Form. See 'How to Book School Meals'
Free School Meal Benefits & Pupil Premium
Your child may be eligible for free school meals if you are in receipt of any of the following:
- Universal Credit, provided annual net earned income does not exceed £7,400 (£616.67 per month)
- Income support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-based Employment & Support Allowance
- Support under Part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of Pension Credit
- Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and annual gross income is £16,190 or less)
- Working Tax Credit run-on (paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying)
If you think your child may be eligible for free school meals because of your income or circumstances, it is essential you apply for this before your child starts school or as soon as your circumstances change. This is important, even for children who are already eligible for Universal Infant Free School Meals, as it also provides additional financial support from the school to help cover the costs of school trips, milk, school jumpers/cardigans and KS2 music lessons. In addition, the number of children eligible for free school meals impacts the level of funding received by the school.
The school receives extra funding (Pupil Premium Grant) based on the number of children who are:
- eligible for free school meals currently or during the past 6 years
- from service families
- in care of the Local Authority or adopted from care
This money is used in a variety of ways to help support these individual pupils and the whole school community.
It is really important that if you think your child is ever eligible for free school meals, however briefly, you should claim.
Our Learning Mentor, Mrs de Scossa, has further details on the benefits available for eligible pupils.
Free School Meals Application Process
North Somerset Council provides an online application service for free school meals. Parents are able to apply online, at home or in school, and get an instant result. The system generates a letter that parents can print off and give to the school and eligibility will start from the date of the letter.
The online application system can be found here: https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/schools-learning/local-schools/schoolmeals/freeschoolmeals/
The eligibility criteria for free school meals were changed on 1 April 2018, following the introduction of Universal Credit. If your child is eligible for free school meals, they will remain eligible until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they are in on 31 March 2022. During this period it is not necessary for parents to re-apply for free school meals. If you have a query relating to a change of address or your child is moving schools, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would encourage anyone who thinks they may be entitled to free school meals, on the basis of their income, to apply even if their child receives universal infant free school meals. The online system takes a few minutes to do and we can help in school if you need any assistance.